Jun 222011

Stan Bowman was interviewed on ChicagoBlackhawks.com’s podcast, Blackhawks Insider, in audio posted on Monday.  A portion of Bowman’s conversation with Adam Kempenaar is transcribed here.

The Blackhawks Way of playing hockey

One piece of news coming out of the audio portion pertained to July’s prospect camp.  Bowman is inviting fewer players and there will be less scrimmage time.  He’s looking at this year as less of a tryout (or evaluation) camp and more of a development camp.  They’re experimenting with a different ideas at the assistance and suggestion of Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff.  Bowman said there will be a bigger focus on “skills they’re going to need to have in order to eventually play for us.”  Just the idea of fewer players would seem to indicate one scrimmage per day instead of two.  On the topic of scrimmages, Bowman said “we are certainly going to have some of those but it was predominately scrimmages in the past.”

On the talent pool in this year’s draft, Bowman is optimistic that there is enough that he’ll get “good” future NHLers but he doesn’t see high-end goaltenders in this draft, which is consistent with the scouting reports.  Bowman said they “don’t necessarily have a one position” they’re focusing on.  He said in the past they had holes at center and defense but felt they’ve addressed those in the past couple of years.  He said he hadn’t had talks with any GM’s on moving up or trading down, but revealed those discussions between GM’s don’t typically come into play until the week and days leading into the draft.  He said they’re working at getting the best group of picks, regardless of position.

That taken, the Hawks are very weak on the depth chart at right wing.  Jeremy Morin is better on the left side.  Kyle Beach and Igor Makarov can play either.  Beach is probably better on the left but his game is a little far off to say for sure.  Makarov could Rockford’s top right wing by default if Morin and Beach keep to their off wing.

Longer-range, Bowman shared his thoughts and is high on Justin Holl’s skating ability; the toning down of Stephen Johns and Kevin Hayes taking the next step.

–Conflicting reports now coming out of Canada on the search for a new Winnipeg coach.  Today’s Winnipeg Sun is reporting there will be a second-round of interviews with finalists Claude Noel and Mike Haviland.

The same article though notes a Vancouver Sun report having Canucks’ GM Mike Gillis telling that paper he expects to hear whether Noel is getting the Winnipeg job or not in “the next day or two.”  Noel is the current coach of the former Manitoba Moose franchise and is under contract to the Canucks.  (This is a well circulated rumor, not official, but should the Canucks team up with the Chicago Wolves as their new AHL affiliate and Noel not get the Winnipeg job, Noel would likely stay on to coach the Canucks’ new minor league partner).

TSN is reporting that neither John Torchetti nor Mike Strothers will be retained as assistant coaches.  Interesting.

Trent Yawney is leaving is position as assistant coach in San Jose under Todd McLellan to pursue an AHL head coaching position.

I was always told by people that I respect that if you want to be an NHL coach you’ve got to go coach in the American league. And I’ve done that, and it worked out for me, so I felt that it’s probably in my best interests to go that route again,” Yawney told the Mercury-News.

Yawney leaves the Sharks with the league’s 24th ranked penalty kill.  Yawney did very well as the Norfolk coach while with the Blackhawks but when promoted to the NHL his coaching and motivational tactics turned veteran players against him and he was a victim of Dale Tallon’s roster mismanagement in the two year’s coming out of the 2004-05 lockout.

–Reports are the 2011-12 NHL regular season schedule will be released today or tomorrow.

Jonathan Toews can turn in his Canadian national hero badge.  On Tuesday, Toews told the Chicago Tribune he “kind of expected” the Vancouver riots post Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  “Those fans are crazy,” Toews said.  Maybe next time he has one of his grand presentiments he should pick up a phone.

–NHL Awards take place today in Las Vegas.  EA Sports will unveil their NHL 12 cover boy on the show.  Odds are a Blackhawk won’t make the cover for the third year in a row.  Tim Thomas seems to be the odds on favorite.  Sidney Crosby has never been.  He will be at some point, but with the momentum Thomas has now, he would make more sense.  It won’t mean a damn thing to sales elsewhere, but a Thomas cover would push a few more sales in the Boston market, which is obviously red hot for hockey right now.

–Speaking of, interesting numbers when comparing television ratings, NHL vs NBA Finals.  The series deciding game six between the Miami Heat – Dallas Mavericks drew a 36.2 rating in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, slightly behind Dallas-Fort Worth where the game drew a 39.8 rating.  Both trailed the rating drawn in Boston for game seven of the Bruins-Canucks series.  Game seven drew a 43.4 rating (64.0 share) on NBC in the Boston market.

That’s a tremendous stat but also where the chest-pumping can end on the NHL front.  This year’s NBA Finals as a series was also down, 10.2 from the 10.6 ABC pulled for last year’s Lakers-Celtics Finals.  Actually, considering the markets involved this year against the storied franchises a year ago, ABC is happy with this Mavs-Heat number.  With the anti-Lebron “heat” Miami has, had they been opposed by a team with a more prominent star or West franchise, one could assume ABC’s numbers would have been significantly higher.  Still, the NBA Finals are still up significantly from Lakers-Orlando in 2009 (8.4), Lakers-Celtics 2008 (9.3) to the dismal San Antonio-Cleveland 2007 Final (6.2) rating.

Game 7 of the Canucks-Bruins did a 4.8 rating (8.0 share) overall and 8.54M viewers, the most viewed NHL game in America in 37 years.  That was still roughly a third of what ABC got with game six of the NBA Finals, 23.88 million viewers.  ABC drew an average of 17.3 million viewers for the series.

When tracking individual markets, remember Boston (43.4), for game 7, Providence (CT, also home of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate) drew a 25.9 rating.  The third highest U.S. market was Buffalo (10.6).  Filling out the top ten were Detroit (8.7), Hartford (8.7), Pittsburgh (7.6), Denver (7.2), Minneapolis (6.7), Las Vegas (6.7) and Chicago (6.4).

For the six NBA Finals games, ABC Channel 7 in Chicago averaged a 13.7 rating, tenth-highest nationally.

The NHL markets which had the least interest by ratings in Game 7 Bruins-Canucks were Phoenix (3.5), Dallas (3.0), Los Angeles (2.7) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale (1.8).  Of the top 54 U.S. markets tracked, Miami-Fort Lauderdale ranked dead-last.  Houston was second-worst (2.0).  Eighteen non-NHL markets did better ratings than Phoenix; twenty-four better than Dallas; twenty-seven more than Los Angeles and all 34 non-NHL markets out-watched the Panthers’ home market.

For games five and six of the Van-Bos series, Chicago averaged a 2.9 rating on NBC, 8th best among U.S. NHL markets.  Boston averaged 25.8 for those games, compared to their 43.4 game seven rating.

–For the sixth-consecutive year, Sidney Crosby tops all players in jersey sales.  Of the top twenty, Pittsburgh and Chicago each had four players.  Alex Ovechkin was second, followed by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Evgeni Malkin to round the top five.  The impact of the Bruins Stanley Cup run will be felt from this point forward, yet Milan Lucic (14th) was the lone Bruin to crack the top twenty.  Marian Hossa (16) and Patrick Sharp (19) were the other Blackhawks.  No Canucks in the top twenty.  I think a part of that is because of how damn ridiculous those Canucks jerseys are, still, that will blow you away considering Ryan Callahan (love the player, but he’s still Ryan Callahan) ranks 15 on the 2010-11 list.

–Colin Campbell, 58, says in 13 years, he doled out $15.3 million in fines and forfeited salary due to suspensions.  Says he leaves the job as head of supplementary discipline with no regrets.

David Shoalts writes about Campbell’s successor, Brendan Shanahan.

–Still don’t have a name, or a coach, but at least now they have a web site.

After eleven years in Atlanta, the NHL Board of Governors today voted unanimously to ratify the sale and relocation of the former Thrashers’ organization to Winnipeg.  For the sale, the board needed a three-fourths vote.  On relocation, it just needed to be a simple majority.  True North, the new owners, will pay $60M to the league as a relocation fee, also known as Phoenix Coyotes’ operating funds.

–We touched on this topic briefly on Monday’s PuckCast and wouldn’t you know – there was a development in the new arena plans on Nassau, Long Island today.  I think we all could use a little more “Wang Control.” The new lease agreement is to be announced at a press conference at Nassau Coliseum, Wednesday at 11am eastern.  West Hempstead County officials have their say here.  There will be an August 1 county vote to get approval for the $400M bond Charles Wang is seeking in order to replace the existing Nassau Coliseum on the existing site.  It’s the latest stop in the long saga of Wang threatening to pull the team out of Long Island.  This is not exactly a means to an end for the Islanders in Uniondale.  Their lease expires in 2015.  While it’s not exactly “put up or we walk” here this summer, time is running short for the 39-year old Coliseum.

–It was four years ago today that Dale Tallon traded Adrian Aucoin and the final two years and $8M remaining on Aucoin’s original 4-year $16M contract to the Calgary Flames for defensemen Andrei Zyuzin and Steve Marr.

Reed Low (35) and Pascal Rheamue (38) had birthdays Tuesday.  Rheaume probably regarded as near-worst roommate (snoring) to have on the road.

–Speaking of Dale, he has the 3rd overall pick this Friday, and two more in the first 47.  But all is not well.  It appears Tallon and the agent for Erik Gudbranson are still speaking different languages.

–ESPN Chicago Radio is moving into a new production studio this September, street level at 190 N State Street.

Rap off:  Brad Marchand versus Kris Versteeg

–Sounds as though San Jose has no interest in re-signing Ben Eager.

Some background on Mac Carruth, his invite to the Aug 6-13 U.S. national junior evaluation camp.

–Jim Cornelison will sing the national anthem prior to the fireworks display at the 4th of July celebration at Bolingbrook Golf Club on July 4.

–Per the Credit Union Centre web site, the September 20 preseason game in Saskatoon between the Oilers and Blackhawks is a 7:05 puck drop in Saskatoon.  Making it (if broadcast) an 8:05 puck drop Chicago time.  As mentioned here the other day, the Hawks’ press release and schedule currently lists the game for a 6:00 start.  As noted, Saskatoon is also in the central time zone but they don’t participate in daylight savings time. (thanks to Jeff)

–Red Wings and Flyers will play a neutral site preseason game at John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario on September 22.  The Capitals will open their exhibition slate against the Predators at 1st Mariner Arena (old Baltimore Arena) on September 20.  Three nights before they visit United Center, the Penguins will play Los Angeles in Kansas City on September 27.  Pittsburgh is also doing a second annual Saturday afternoon free kids game, September 24 vs Minnesota Wild at Consol Energy Center.

Doug Zmolek talks about not being invited to the 1989 NHL Draft near his Minnesota hometown, then getting picked seventh-overall by…. the Minnesota North Stars.  Zmolek grew up in Rochester, or about 70 miles from the Met Center where the ’89 draft was held.

Dustin Byfuglien will be in St. Paul at the NHL Draft signing autographs at the Panini booth this Saturday at 10 a.m.

–We’ll have tons on the Hawks’ draft Thursday and Friday.


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  One Response to “Bowman interview, prospect camp changes; Winny coach news, Torchetti out, Yawney quits, Toews quips, Tallon troubles, NHLvsNBA and Wang news”

  1. great stuff Chris. Particularly interesting info on the ratings breakdown.

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